Down the Procurement Pub with risk management, Coupa, CIPS and the Wild Beasts

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I was trying to think of a suitable topic to write about, but I’m struggling.  I know, what about supplier / buyer romances? Any examples of buyers and sellers becoming partners in life, as well as in the strategic vendor relationship management sense? There must be some, but actually I can’t think of any from my practitioner career.  (I know a CPO who married his lodger, but that’s a bit different...)  And what would this do in terms of the commercial relationship – would you be worried if your buyer fancied the sales person – or might they leverage that into a better deal? Actually, this sounds like it has potential for a really interesting PhD  study...


Coupa, the spend management software firm, who have shown consistently impressive growth since their launch in 2006, announced another impressive set of results for 2013 this week. As a privately owned business, they lack details on some key metrics, such as detailed profit and revenue numbers, but growth in 2013 was ‘more than 100%’, renewals exceeded 95%, and there was a big focus on major alliance partnerships with the likes of KPMG.  International expansion included a contract with the Colombian Government who selected Coupa to help achieve their goal of saving $1 billion in the next two years.  We’ll come back with more details on their European performance shortly, but there are two more detailed pieces from Jason Busch available for Spend Matters Plus and PRO subscribers, including comments based on his interview with Rob Bernshteyn, Coupa’s CEO.


I has a truly scary experience this week, when my car engine cut out as I was doing 70mph in the middle lane of a busy, rush hour M1 Motorway in Leicestershire. I might save the story of why it happened for another day, but I made it safely to the (very narrow at that particular point) hard shoulder, and was rescued in due course by the AA.  But it did make me consider risk management, and those moments when you think “I wish I had done that / not done that”.  Putting effort into risk identification, evaluation, and management can seem like wasted time. But when you’re sitting in the twilight with the HGVs hurtling past, hoping they notice your warning lights, and the freezing rain is just kicking in, you’re pretty glad of the risk mitigation strategy that says ‘join a recovery service’.  Thanks guys.


Only a month to the CIPS Annual Dinner at the Hilton Hotel, London Park Lane on March 12th. And no-one has invited me yet. Almost time to break out the cheque book, £190 to listen to Cherie Blair, an absolute bargain...


Some big albums out last week, and more to come soon, including the fourth from the Wild Beasts, Kendal’s finest (only?) major rock band. Their last two albums both were high on my personal best of their respective year’s list, and the new one, Present Tense, out on February 24th, has got excellent early reviews. Here is the first single from it, Wanderlust. (Warning – occasional use of bad language).

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